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Cara Leonard

New York, NY, United States

Member since March 10, 2008

  • Al Argee: Teaching Kids about Food Allergies

    Education, Industrial Design


    Al Argee was produced to further the mission of Food Allergy Initiative, a non-profit that raises funds for research and education of food allergies.

    Today, 6-8% of all school age American children live with possibly life threatening food allergies for which they must avoid certain foods completely. It is essential that all people around these individuals understand what causes food allergic reactions and what symptoms may occur. Though this education is necessary, there are no fun tools to teach kids about this serious topic.

    Al Argee is a game that teaches children the main eight food allergies, which foods contain these ingredients, and what symptoms may develop if an allergic reaction occurs. The game includes a stuffed character, Al Argee, an allergen selector ball, and three levels of food cards. To play the game, the player selects an allergen from the ball and a food card from the pile then must decide if the food is safe for Al to eat.

    By playing with Al Argee, children to develop compassion for Al, creating a desire to keep him safe by learning what foods he can and cannot eat. The knowledge acquired in the game translates into the real world, as children understand that some people must avoid certain foods due to food allergies.

    Because Al Argee is appropriate in a number of settings, including classrooms, allergists’ offices, and homes, methods of distribution need to be found that would accommodate all situations.

  • Cara,

    I've been invited to give feedback to all Parsons students, regarding your thesis projects.

    You've created a very clear problem statement and you've offered up a fun solution to a very serious issue. I love that you've considered empathy-building among children, especially in the instance of food, which we all know impacts our social lives every single day in ever-surprising ways. Only individuals with dietary restrictions understand the real impact of this.

    Starting when children are young and using a tool that is in fact a toy are both strong strategies. It's also good of you to already be considering its long-term impact and how it will work in the lives of the end users.

    Good job! J.

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